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Laura Bakosh, PhD

Co-Founder of Inner Explorer

Laura Bakosh, PhD

Co-Founder of Inner Explorer

Biography

Dr. Bakosh is a researcher, program developer, and co-founder of Inner Explorer—a nonprofit organization helping children unlock academic potential and foster lifelong well-being. For 20 years Laura worked in large multinational companies, and began practicing mindfulness as a way to mitigate the stress of work and travel. The daily practice was so impactful in her life that she invited an MBSR teacher to facilitate training and provide practice tools for her team at GE Healthcare, over a 3-year period, from 2001-2003. Record sales volume, reduced turnover, and improved morale were all linked to the mindfulness training.

During the same time, GE fMRI equipment was being used in early studies that showed consistent mindfulness practice causes brain changes that support improved cognitive function. Understanding that these habits of mind would be useful for children, she attended the MBSR Teacher Practicum at the University of Massachusetts Center for Mindfulness in 2007, and began investigated adapted MBSR approaches for children. For several years she taught in classrooms and after school centers when it became clear that a daily practice tool was a missing link, and would be useful for children to develop the habit of being mindful. This led to the development of an MBSR adapted 10-minute, daily, audio-guided program, and the launching of Inner Explorer in 2011. Now more than 10,000 classrooms are running the program. Inner Explorer has become a simple and cost effective tool for educators to use to help students (and themselves) practice being mindful every day.

Laura graduated with a PhD from the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology at Sofia University, after conducting multiple research studies on the effects of the daily practice on academic outcomes. Published research, Maximizing Mindful Learning proves the brief, automated practices reduce stress, leading to improved grades, test scores, and behavior. Laura and the Inner Explorer team’s vision is to break the cycle of poverty, violence, and despair through daily mindfulness programs in schools. They believe that it will be the most impactful social justice initiative of our time.